In Talks With The GOP About The Debt Ceiling, Democrats Might Have To Give In

Strategists and policy experts from both parties think that Democrats will soon have to come to the table to talk about a deal to raise the debt ceiling that will keep the economy from collapsing.

So far, President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) have refused to talk with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) about raising the country’s debt limit. However, people from all sides of the political spectrum say that a precedent has been set for such talks.

In 2011, former President Obama worked with the majority of Republicans in the House to extend the country’s ability to borrow money. In 2019, former President Trump agreed to big increases in discretionary spending in order to raise the debt ceiling.

Obama agreed to negotiate big spending cuts with Republicans before the 2012 presidential election because he knew he was ultimately responsible for the health of the U.S. economy, which would have taken a big hit if the federal government had stopped paying its debts in 2011.

As part of a two-year budget deal, Trump agreed to a $320 billion increase in domestic and military spending. He did this because he wanted to get rid of the threat of default before he ran for reelection. Experts say that Biden is in a similar situation as he prepares to run for re-election and won’t be able to say no to negotiations.

“It would be terrible for the economy if the debt limit wasn’t fixed. “Anyone who has studied this and taken it seriously knows that the economic effects would be deep, long-lasting, and terrible,” warned the former head of the Senate Budget Committee, Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).

Conrad said he understood why Democrats wouldn’t talk to Republicans about raising the debt limit during Obama’s last four years in office, but he thinks Biden will talk to Republicans about the issue this year. He said, “You can see that there is at least the chance of a negotiation.”

Conrad said that a meeting between Biden and Republicans in Congress would be a “opportunity to deal with some of the long-term challenges facing the country.” He said, “The hard truth is that both Social Security and Medicare are going to run out of money.” “The country has a chance to deal with some of these long-term problems that are very important.”

In Talks With The GOP About The Debt Ceiling, Democrats Might Have To Give In
In Talks With The GOP About The Debt Ceiling, Democrats Might Have To Give In

Other Democrats also think there will be bipartisan talks, but they think Republicans won’t get the same deep spending cuts from Obama as they did a decade ago. “Schumer, McConnell, and Biden will figure something out in the end,” said Jim Kessler, who used to work for Schumer and is now executive vice president for policy at Third Way, a Democratic think tank in the middle.

“In the end, I think it’s likely that the Senate will make a deal, and the House will have to accept it. McConnell says, “We’re not going to default,” which is what he said. At an event at the University of Louisville on Thursday, McConnell said that he thought Republicans and Biden would work out a deal.

“I think the most important thing to remember is that America should never stop paying its debts. He said, “It’s never happened, and it never will.” “We’ll have to come to some kind of agreement with the administration about how and when the debt ceiling can be raised.”

So far, Biden isn’t getting a lot of pressure from his party to start talking, with the exception of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who represents a state that usually votes very strongly for the Republican presidential candidate.

“We need to work as a team. In terms of the debt ceiling, it has always been bipartisan, Manchin told Fox Business during an interview in Davos, Switzerland. “I think we need to admit that there is a problem. We have a debt problem.”

Manchin, who will be running for reelection in 2024, suggested that reforms could be made to keep federal programs like Medicare and Social Security solvent longer in exchange for Republican support for raising the debt ceiling.

“We would get committees from both parties and both houses to look at each trust and come up with ways to fix it,” he said. An aide to a Republican senator said that refusing to negotiate with Republicans “can’t last as long as people like Manchin are putting out ideas.”

Manchin hasn’t said if he will run for reelection next year, but Sens. Jon Tester from Montana, Sherrod Brown from Ohio, and Jacky Rosen from Nevada, as well as Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, are all vulnerable Senate Democrats who will be paying close attention to the debt ceiling negotiations.

Schumer and then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) refused to negotiate spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit in the fall of 2021. Instead, they put pressure on McConnell to work out a deal that would get at least 10 Senate GOP votes.

McConnell agreed to a way to get around a filibuster in the Senate so that debt-limit legislation could pass. This allowed him to say that Democrats were the only ones who raised the debt limit. But McConnell was still harshly criticized by former President Trump and some conservatives because GOP votes were needed to stop a filibuster on the debt limit bill.

Republicans say that Democrats can’t count on McConnell to make a clean debt limit increase possible this year. “Mr. Schumer and others are saying, ‘We can just hold out like we did in ’21, and Republicans will give in.’ “I don’t think that’s possible with a divided Congress,” said Bill Hoagland, senior vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center and a former aide to the Senate Republican leadership.

“My sense is that, at the end of the day, it’s not ‘My way or the highway,’ and Biden has been here before, in 2011. “He has to give Congress something, and Congress has to give him something,” Hoagland said. “I think there will be some kind of limit on spending on things you don’t have to,” he said. “It proves that the president wants to work with Congress.”

Hoagland said that reforms that would cut or put new limits on Medicare and Social Security benefits are less likely than negotiated cuts to discretionary spending because Republicans don’t want to be accused of forcing cuts to popular entitlement programs before the next election.

In a video message that was sent to Republican lawmakers on Friday, Trump told them not to cut “a single penny” from Medicare or Social Security. Already, Democratic leaders are making it clear that the new GOP majority in the House wants to cut these programs.

Schumer said in a statement, “From rising home prices and interest rates to cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and other programs, it’s clear that American families will pay the price for unnecessary partisan politics.” Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), the new leader of the Democrats in the House, tweeted on Friday, “Social Security is not up for discussion.”

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